Bisan Owda and AJ+ win Peabody Award for Gaza war coverage

Palestinian journalist dedicates award to protesters around the world who are supporting Gaza.

By Al Jazeera StaffPublished On 9 May 20249 May 2024

Palestinian journalist Bisan Owda and AJ+ have won a Peabody Award for coverage of the devastating impact Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip has had on Palestinians in the besieged enclave.

One of the highest honours in journalism, the award was unveiled on Thursday for the first video in Owda’s series for AJ+ on daily life under Israel’s bombardment.

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“Good morning, everyone. This is Bisan from Gaza,” Owda says in the video, which has more than 1.3 million views and was published on November 3, less than a month into the Israeli military’s offensive.

“I’m smiling because I’m alive,” she says.

Owda, 25, has been reporting daily from Gaza since the beginning of the war, which has now stretched into its seventh month and killed more than 34,900 Palestinians.

Her widely shared videos put a human face on the realities of daily life in Gaza and showed the world what Palestinians are doing to survive as Israel’s severe restrictions on the delivery of food, water, fuel and aid supplies into the territory have created a humanitarian crisis.

“Reporting from her makeshift tent outside the medical center, she shows what survival looks like for her and the masses around her, drawing on her indomitable spirit to keep the world informed of the day-to-day reality on the ground in Gaza,” the Peabody board of jurors said in a statement announcing the award winners.

Owda dedicated the Peabody Award to university students and others who have been protesting in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

“To all the people who took to the streets. To all the people at home who are participating in boycotts. To all the people worldwide, regardless of their religion, color, and ethnicity,” she said in a statement.

“Regardless of what makes them different, they’re united in one mission: in their demands for a free Palestine. You deserve this award. And so do we. And one day, this genocide will end. And Palestine will be free. And we will welcome you here. On Gazan soil. All of you.

“Thank you so much for this award and for always supporting us, standing by us, and for continuing to do so until we reach our demands: an end to the genocide, a ceasefire, and a free Palestine.”

Tony Karon, the editorial lead at AJ+, said, “Bisan’s heroic storytelling exemplifies the spirit of AJ+ and the wider Al Jazeera network, of which we are a part.”

“We strive to tell the human story from where the missiles land, to elevate the human spirit and the hope that it brings for better days, to shine a light on places and stories those in power would rather keep shrouded in darkness,” Karon said.

“Bisan has provided a magnificent example to us and to media organisations everywhere of how to cover a war. We are honoured and humbled to have her work grace our platform.”

AJ+ won a Peabody Award last year for One Day In Hebron, a report by Senior Presenter Dena Takruri on the discrimination that Palestinians face in her father’s hometown in the occupied West Bank.

Source: Al Jazeera